Reporter

Woman reporter holds a TV news microphone reporting for a television station standing in front of a street scene

What you need to know

Overview

Reporters, news analysts, and journalists keep the public updated about current events and noteworthy information. They report international, national, and local news for newspapers, magazines, websites, television, and radio.

What does a reporter do?

Reporters, news analysts, and journalists often work for a particular type of media organization, such as a television or radio station, newspaper, or website.

Some of the things a reporter, news analyst, and journalist might do:

  • Research topics and stories that an editor or news director has assigned to them
  • Investigate new story ideas and pitch ideas to editors
  • Interview people who have information, analysis, or opinions about a story or article
  • Write articles for newspapers, blogs, or magazines and write scripts to be read on television or radio
  • Review articles for accuracy and proper style and grammar
  • Develop relationships with experts and contacts who provide tips and leads on stories
  • Analyze and interpret information to increase their audiences’ understanding of the news
  • Update stories as new information become available
What skills are needed?
  • Communication skills: Reporters, news analysts, and journalists must be able to report the news. Strong writing skills are important for journalists in all kinds of media.
  • Computer skills: Journalists should be able to use editing equipment and other broadcast-related devices. They should also be able to use multimedia and coding software in order to publish stories on websites and mobile devices.
  • Interpersonal skills: To develop contacts and conduct interviews, reporters need to build good relationships with many people. They also need to work well with other journalists, editors, and news directors.
  • Persistence: Sometimes, getting the facts of a story is difficult, particularly when those involved refuse to be interviewed or provide comment. Journalists need to be persistent in their pursuit of the story.
  • Stamina: The work of journalists is often fast-paced and exhausting. Reporters must be able to keep up with the additional hours of work.
What is the pay?

The average pay for reporters, news analysts, and journalists in the United States ranges from $29,210 to $120,590 as of May 2021.

The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.

What is the career outlook?

Overall employment of reporters, news analysts, and journalists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Much of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020.

Declining advertising revenue in radio, newspapers, and television will negatively affect the employment growth for these occupations.

Those with experience in the field—experience often gained through internships or by working for school newspapers, television stations, or radio stations—should have the best job prospects.

Multimedia journalism experience, including recording and editing video or audio pieces, should also improve job prospects. Because stations and media outlets are increasingly publishing content on multiple media platforms, particularly the web, employers may prefer applicants who have experience in website design and coding.

How do you become a reporter?

Most employers prefer workers who have a bachelor’s degree in journalism or communications. However, some employers may hire applicants who have a degree in a related subject, such as English or political science, and relevant work experience.

Some journalism students may benefit from classes in multimedia design, coding, and programming. Because content is increasingly being delivered on television, websites, and mobile devices, reporters need to know how to develop stories with video, audio, data, and graphics.

Discover some of the courses you will take pursuing a degree in Journalism or Communications.